“Petta”… A treat for fans of the star makes you wish it had also been one for fans of the director

Posted on January 10, 2019


Spoilers ahead…

Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/petta-movie-review-karthik-subbaraj-rajinikanth-simran-anirudh-tirru-trisha-vijay-sethupathi/

One way to view Karthik Subbaraj’s Petta (Neighbourhood) is to treat it as Rajinikanth’s Petta. Superstar is in super form, and it’s a thrill to be reminded — in this age of disposable stardom — of enduring screen charisma. To hook you with a look at this age, at this stage of his career — you can forgive any number of Baba-s and Lingaa-s. He’s lit beautifully, and the heightened pace of his movement (something we missed in his recent films) brings to mind the Rajinikanth of old, when he spoke so fast that the words sometimes tumbled and merged into one another like socks in a washing machine. A lot of this, I bet, also has to do with the director, a self-confessed fanboy. When the rest of us saw Lingaa and decided we didn’t give, um, a dam, he tweeted: “#Lingaa is a 3hr emotional talk between thalaivar and a fan who was heart broken when he was ill.Others won’t get it.HE is back & We luv him” One way to view Petta, then, is simply  as a shrine to a star, by a fan. Others won’t get it.

And what a shrine it is, harking back to the very first “Rajini moment”, when a newcomer flung open those gates in Apoorva Raagangal. In Petta, Rajinikanth plays a hostel warden, and his name is Kaali, which is to this actor what “Vijay” is to Amitabh Bachchan. The cigarette toss makes a smashing return, as does the “paambu” joke. The sun-splattered lighting scheme appears to be an homage to Thalapathy. A watch sales and service store goes by the name of “Muthu”. The nunchaku bits bring to mind Paayum Puli. My favourite nod, though, has to be Anirudh’s number, Marana mass. It isn’t till the end of the film that you realise the song is a tribute to (and an extension of) a famous Rajini number that was equally percussion-heavy and also sung by SP Balasubrahmanyam.

Continued at the link above.

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Posted in: Cinema: Tamil